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Who owned Foyt's 500 winning entries?

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  • Who owned Foyt's 500 winning entries?

    This came up on another thread and I wasn't clear on the answer.

    1961 he drove for George Bignotti, who had financial backing from Bob Bowes. He left that team during the 1962 season and briefly drove for Lindsey Hopkins before joining Ansted-Thompson Racing in 1963. ATR was owned by Bill Ansted and Shirley Murphy. They owned his 1964 winning car and I think his 1967 winner?? I feel like I saw his 1967 entry on display at the museum a few years back and it had been submitted by Ansted & Murphy. When did he transition over to being a car owner? 1968 or 69? He retained sponsorship from Sheraton-Thompson. Did A.J. Foyt Enterprises morph out of Ansted-Thompson Racing?
    Real drivers don't need fenders!

  • #2
    1971 entrant ITT Thompson
    1972 AJFOYT Enterprises

    Gilmore Racing Team 1974 Many of the next few races had Gilmore racing but AJ Foyt Enterprise as entrant. I cant distinguish how that works.
    "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved
    body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting
    "...holy $^!+...what a ride!"
    >

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    • #3
      1968 was the first year that A.J. Foyt Enterprises was the actual owner of the cars. By this time Foyt had major backing by both Goodyear and Ford and apparently retained sponsorship through his previous car owners with their Thompson Industries and Sheraton Hotels involvement. I believe this sponsorship went on until 1973 when Jim Gilmore became sponsor for the Foyt entries. Having said that A.J. Foyt Enterprises was started in 1965 after the final Foyt/Bignotti break up and the Ansted-Murphy cars were actually being prepared by Foyt in Houston in his old shop on Toledo Street even before Foyt became the actual owner.

      But you are absolutely correct in that Foyt Enterprises "morphed" from the Shirley Murphy and Bill Ansted ownership.

      This is all from memory so if anyone here has additional details I would love to hear them.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Niseguy View Post
        1971 entrant ITT Thompson
        1972 AJFOYT Enterprises

        Gilmore Racing Team 1974 Many of the next few races had Gilmore racing but AJ Foyt Enterprise as entrant. I cant distinguish how that works.
        I've done a little more poking into the history and it appears that Bill Ansted and Shirley Murphy picked up the assets of Bignotti-Bowes after that team fell apart. Bignotti came back as chief mechanic and Foyt returned as the driver. Ansted and Murphy continued to own the team until 1967, when Foyt appears to have bought them out. Murphy was a honcho with Thompson Industries, who purchased Sheraton in the late 60's. Foyt appears to have retained their sponsorship until he linked up with Jim Gilmore.

        I think Foyt's history looks like this: 1958-1959 (Al Dean), 1960-1962 (Bignotti/Bowes), 1963-1967 (Ansted-Thompson), 1968-on (A.J. Foyt Enterprises).
        Real drivers don't need fenders!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by indyrjc View Post
          1968 was the first year that A.J. Foyt Enterprises was the actual owner of the cars. By this time Foyt had major backing by both Goodyear and Ford and apparently retained sponsorship through his previous car owners with their Thompson Industries and Sheraton Hotels involvement. I believe this sponsorship went on until 1973 when Jim Gilmore became sponsor for the Foyt entries. Having said that A.J. Foyt Enterprises was started in 1965 after the final Foyt/Bignotti break up and the Ansted-Murphy cars were actually being prepared by Foyt in Houston in his old shop on Toledo Street even before Foyt became the actual owner.

          But you are absolutely correct in that Foyt Enterprises "morphed" from the Shirley Murphy and Bill Ansted ownership.

          This is all from memory so if anyone here has additional details I would love to hear them.
          Thanks for the info.
          Real drivers don't need fenders!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Pelican Joe View Post

            I've done a little more poking into the history and it appears that Bill Ansted and Shirley Murphy picked up the assets of Bignotti-Bowes after that team fell apart. Bignotti came back as chief mechanic and Foyt returned as the driver. Ansted and Murphy continued to own the team until 1967, when Foyt appears to have bought them out. Murphy was a honcho with Thompson Industries, who purchased Sheraton in the late 60's. Foyt appears to have retained their sponsorship until he linked up with Jim Gilmore.

            I think Foyt's history looks like this: 1958-1959 (Al Dean), 1960-1962 (Bignotti/Bowes), 1963-1967 (Ansted-Thompson), 1968-on (A.J. Foyt Enterprises).
            The "ownership" surrounding the S-T effort is one I have researched as well and I think it's as clear as mud. I've always gone by the listed ENTRANT in the program, as that is whom the sanctioning body lists and ultimately it is the entrant that is paid. If you look at the 1963 Milwaukee 200 program, George Bignotti is listed as the entrant of the S-T roadster driven by A.J. Foyt. Then, in the 1966 Milwaukee 200 program, the entrant is listed as Ansted-Thompson.

            I was under the impression that while Ansted-Thompson was listed as the entrant from say, 1965-1967, that A.J. and his dad actually purchased and owned the equipment.
            "For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children's future, and we are all mortal".

            John Kennedy at American University 1963

            "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power"

            A. Lincoln

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Belanger99 View Post


              I was under the impression that while Ansted-Thompson was listed as the entrant from say, 1965-1967, that A.J. and his dad actually purchased and owned the equipment.
              I think things were headed that way for sure; certainly by 1967.

              At Indianapolis in 1967 Ansted and Murphy were still the car owners of Foyt's #14 and got the credit. The second Joe Leonard #4 Coyote was entered and owned by A.J. Foyt, Jr. A.J. Foyt, Sr. was the crew chief on his son's car and George Morales (maybe of the CRA sprint car owning family?) was Leonard's crew chief.

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              • #8
                I'm learning that ownership wasn't always clear cut. The Sugaripe Prune cars were always entered by O'Connell Racing, but I've been told that chief mechanic Jud Phillips was the actual owner of the cars. Jerry O'Connell provided the backing, but Phillips owned the cars. I don't know if this would have made O'Connell a co-owner or not? I think this might be the same situation that Bignotti had with Bob Bowes.
                Real drivers don't need fenders!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Pelican Joe View Post
                  I'm learning that ownership wasn't always clear cut. The Sugaripe Prune cars were always entered by O'Connell Racing, but I've been told that chief mechanic Jud Phillips was the actual owner of the cars. Jerry O'Connell provided the backing, but Phillips owned the cars. I don't know if this would have made O'Connell a co-owner or not? I think this might be the same situation that Bignotti had with Bob Bowes.
                  This is the way I've gone-I treat the listed car entrant as the owner. USAC put together entry lists for their events, and gave them to promoters. Entrants got credit as "car owners", entrants are the one's that get paid from the purse. But you're right, as to who actually owned the equipment gets very fuzzy at times.
                  "For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children's future, and we are all mortal".

                  John Kennedy at American University 1963

                  "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power"

                  A. Lincoln

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Belanger99 View Post

                    This is the way I've gone-I treat the listed car entrant as the owner. USAC put together entry lists for their events, and gave them to promoters. Entrants got credit as "car owners", entrants are the one's that get paid from the purse. But you're right, as to who actually owned the equipment gets very fuzzy at times.
                    I've seen Wilbur Shaw's Maserati listed as being entered by Cotton Henning, though it was owned by Mike Boyle.
                    Real drivers don't need fenders!

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                    • #11
                      Some more potential curves for you to consider.....

                      In the 1968 Indianapolis 500 entry list, the Foyt entry is listed with Ansted-Thompson as the entrant.....

                      In the 1967 USAC Yearbook Ansted Thompson is listed as the car owner of both the Foyt 14 RE and Dirt Car, yet A.J. Foyt ENT. is listed as the owner of the #4 and #82. Ansted Thompson is also listed as the owner of the #84. Do I think that Bill Ansted and Shirley Murphy owned half of the Coyotes that A.J. and his dad built? Not likely.

                      "For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children's future, and we are all mortal".

                      John Kennedy at American University 1963

                      "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power"

                      A. Lincoln

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        To the best of my knowledge, from ‘65 on, Foyt owned his own stuff.
                        Who actually owned what (or what percentage) would depend on how each contract was written.
                        But yeah, I highly doubt anyone other than AJ had controlling interest, if any at all.
                        “With the help of God and true friends, I come to realize
                        I still got two strong legs, even wings to fly
                        I ain’t wastin’ time no more...”

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jandj View Post
                          To the best of my knowledge, from ‘65 on, Foyt owned his own stuff.
                          Who actually owned what (or what percentage) would depend on how each contract was written.
                          But yeah, I highly doubt anyone other than AJ had controlling interest, if any at all.
                          I remember seeing the 1967 entry form at the museum when they had the Foyt exhibit and it was entered by Ansted and Murphy, but they very well might have been just the money behind the team at that point.
                          Real drivers don't need fenders!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            How did Foyt and Jim Gilmore get together? Did they collaborate in business in any way? Or was he simply a Foyt superfan with a lot of money?

                            Edit: Google's your friend dalz. A media mogul who became the classic motorsports moneyman and loved being involved. After sponsoring other teams and drivers, Foyt came calling and he landed the biggest fish in the pond.
                            Last edited by dalz; 08-28-2020, 01:49 AM.
                            Dale
                            Lake Effect Motorsports Formula Mazda

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                            • #15
                              Short story is after the ‘72 season Gordy left the Gilmore ride for STP.
                              Sheraton-Thompson had been sold to ITT which also left racing after ‘72.
                              Gordy suggested to AJ that he give Jim Gilmore a call, which he did.
                              The rest is history.
                              “With the help of God and true friends, I come to realize
                              I still got two strong legs, even wings to fly
                              I ain’t wastin’ time no more...”

                              Comment

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